Category Archives: Weight Loss

What You Eat After Exercise Matters

What You Eat After Exercise Matters

exercise

Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session. The nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food you eat afterwards.

Differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on your body’s metabolism.

Specifically, the study found that exercise enhanced insulin sensitivity, particularly when meals eaten after the exercise session contained relatively low carbohydrate content.

Interestingly, when the research subjects in this study ate relatively low-calorie meals after exercise, this did not improve insulin sensitivity any more than when they ate enough calories to match what they expended during exercise.

This suggests that you don’t have to starve yourself after exercise to still reap some of the important health benefits.

Enhanced insulin sensitivity means that it is easier for your body to take up sugar from your bloodstream into tissues like muscles, where it can be stored or used as fuel. Impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance is a hallmark of Type II diabetes, as well as being a major risk factor for other chronic diseases.

You can read more of this article at: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/02/16/what-you-eat-after-exercise-matters.aspx

 

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A Few Extra Pounds Linked to a Longer Life

A Few Extra Pounds Linked to a Longer Life

Extra Weight

By Dr. Mercola

Provocative new research involving data from nearly 3 million adults suggests that a having an overweight body mass index (BMI) may be linked to a longer life than one that puts you within a “normal” weight range.

The research, which analyzed 97 studies in all, found that people with BMIs under 30 but above normal (the overweight range) had a 6 percent lower risk of dying from all causes than those who were normal weight, while those whose BMIs fell into the obese range were 18 percent more likely to die of any cause.1 The researchers wrote:

“Relative to normal weight … overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.”

Do a Few Extra Pounds Make You Healthier?

The study results imply, at least superficially, that carrying some extra weight may help you live longer … or at the very least may not be as unhealthy as it’s made out to be. In a JAMA editorial, Steven Heymsfield, M.D. and William Cefalu, M.D. highlighted this notion:2

“The presence of a wasting disease, heart disease, diabetes, renal dialysis, or older age are all associated with an inverse relationship between BMI and mortality rate, an observation termed the obesity paradox or reverse epidemiology.

The optimal BMI linked with lowest mortality in patients with chronic disease may be within the overweight and obesity range.

Even in the absence of chronic disease, small excess amounts of adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic illnesses, have beneficial mechanical effects with some types of traumatic injuries, and convey other salutary effects that need to be investigated in light of the studies … “

Indeed, it is quite possible to be overweight and healthy, just as it’s possible to be normal weight and unhealthy. But for the vast majority of those who carry around extra pounds, health problems will often result.

The study has been heavily criticized for painting an overly simplistic picture of a very complex situation. For instance, it doesn’t tell you whether those living longer were afflicted with more chronic disease or whether their quality of life was otherwise impacted. And even more importantly, it used only BMI as a measure of body composition, and this is a highly flawed technique.

Many studies, such as one published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,3 have actually found that a high BMI was associated with a lower risk of death, a phenomenon known as the “obesity paradox.” But these findings are typically only examples of how BMI is such a flawed measurement tool …

Why BMI is a Flawed Measurement Tool

If you’d like to know how much body fat you have and whether or not your levels put you into a weight category that might lead to health problems, most public health agencies, and therefore most physicians, promote the use of the BMI, which gauges weight in relation to height. But this method is quite flawed, as research suggests it may underestimate obesity rates and misclassify up to one-quarter of men and nearly half of women.4 According to lead author Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit Path Foundation in New York City:5

“Based on BMI, about one-third of Americans are considered obese, but when other methods of measuring obesity are used, that number may be closer to 60%.”

One of the primary reasons why BMI is such a flawed measurement tool is that it uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that makes a person have an increased disease risk. Your weight takes into account your bone structure, for instance, so a big-boned person may weigh more, but that certainly doesn’t mean they have more body fat.

Athletes and completely out-of-shape people can also have similar BMI scores, or a very muscular person could be classified as “obese” using BMI, when in reality it is mostly lean muscle accounting for their higher-than-average weight. BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your body, and it appears that the location of the fat, particularly if it’s around your stomach, is more important than the absolute amount of fat when it comes to measuring certain health risks, especially heart disease.

You can read more of this article at: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/04/26/extra-pounds-increase-longevity.aspx

 

Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight

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How Many Calories Should I Eat?

How Many Calories Should I Eat?

The number of calories people should eat each day depends on several factors, including their age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall general health. A physically active 6ft 2in male, aged 22 years, requires considerably more calories than a 5ft 2ins sedentary woman in her 70s.

Recommended daily calorie intakes also vary across the world. According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, the average male adult needs approximately 2,500 calories per day to keep his weight constant, while the average adult female needs 2,000. US authorities recommend 2,700 calories per day for men and 2,200 for women. It is interesting that in the UK, where people on average are taller than Americans, the recommended daily intake of calories is lower. Rates of overweight and obesity among both adults and children in the USA are considerably higher than in the United Kingdom.

The NHS stresses that rather than precisely counting numbers (calories), people should focus more on eating a healthy and well balanced diet, being physically active, and roughly balancing how many calories are consumed with the numbers burnt off each day.

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the average person’s minimum calorie requirement per day globally is approximately 1,800 kilocalories.

Worldwide food consumption
Daily calorie consumption varies considerably around the world (countries in gray indicates “no data available”)

What is the difference between calories and kilocalories?

Scientifically speaking, one kilocalorie is 1,000 calories. However, the term calorie in lay English has become so loosely used with the same meaning as kilocalorie, that the two terms have virtually merged. In other words, in most cases, a calorie and kilocalorie have the same meaning.

A kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water from 15° to 16° Celsius (centigrade) at one atmosphere.

A “small calorie” refers to the traditional scientific term of calorie, meaning one-thousandth of a kilocalorie.

Internationally, most nations talk about food energy in kJ (kilojoules). 1 kcal (kilocalorie) = 4.184 kJ.

In this article, the term “calorie” means the same as “kilocalorie” or “kcal”.

Portion sizes

In industrialized nations and a growing number of emerging economies, people are consuming many more calories than they used to. Portion sizes in restaurants, both fast food ones as well as elegant places, are far greater today.

Comparing cheeseburger sizes over the last 20 years
The average cheeseburger in the USA 20 years ago had 333 calories, compared to the ones today with over 600 calories

The human body and energy usage

For the human body to remain alive, it requires energy. Approximately 20% of the energy we use is for brain metabolism. The majority of the rest of the body’s energy requirements are taken up for the basal metabolic requirements – the energy we need when in a resting state, for functions such as the circulation of the blood and breathing.

If our environment is cold, our metabolism increases to produce more heat to maintain a constant body temperature. When we are in a warm environment, we require less energy.

We also require mechanical energy for our skeletal muscles for posture and moving around.

Respiration, or specifically cellular respiration refers to the metabolic process by which an organism gets energy by reacting oxygen with glucose to produce carbon dioxide, water and ATP energy. How efficiently energy from respiration converts into physical (mechanical) power depends on the type of food eaten, as well as what type of physical energy is used – whether muscles are used aerobically or anaerobically.

Put simply – we need calories to stay alive, even if we are not moving, and need calories to keep our posture and to move about.

How many calories do I need per day?

The Harris-Benedict equation, also known as the Harris-Benedict principle, is used to estimate what a person’s BMR (basal metabolic rate) and daily requirements are. The person’s BMR total is multiplied by another number which represents their level of physical activity. The resulting number is that person’s recommended daily calorie intake in order to keep their body weight where it is.

This equation has limitations. It does not take into account varying levels of muscle mass to fat mass ratios – a very muscular person needs more calories, even when resting.

How to calculate your BMR

    • Male adults
      66.5 + (13.75 x kg body weight) + (5.003 x height in cm) – (6.755 x age) = BMR
      66 + ( 6.23 x pounds body weight) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.76 x age) = BMR

 

    • Female adults
      55.1 + (9.563 x kg body weight) + (1.850 x height in cm) – (4.676 x age) = BMR
      655 + (4.35 x kg body weight) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age) = BMR

You can use our BMR calculator below to work out your BMR.

BMR calculator

1) Metric Calculator
Gender:
Age (in years):
Height:
(in cm, e.g: 183)
Weight:
(in kg, e.g: 63)
2) Imperial Calculator
Gender:
Age:  (in years)
Height:
feet: inches:
Weight:
stones: pounds:

Applying levels of physical activity to the equation

    • Sedentary lifestyle – if you do very little or no exercise at all
      Your daily calorie requirements are BMR x 1.2

 

    • Slightly active lifestyle – light exercise between once and three times per week
      Your daily calorie requirements are BMR x 1.375

 

    • Moderately active lifestyle – if you do moderate exercise three to five days per week
      Your daily calorie requirements are BMR x 1.55

 

    • Active lifestyle – if you do intensive/heavy exercise six to seven times per week
      Your daily calorie requirements are BMR x 1.725

 

  • Very active lifestyle – if you do very heavy/intensive exercise twice a day (extra heavy workouts)
    Your daily calorie requirements are BMR x 1.9

How much should I weigh?

As with how many calories you should consume each dayyour ideal body weight depends on several factors, including your age, sex, bone density, muscle-fat ratio, and height.

    • BMI (Body Mass Index) – some say BMI is a good way of working out what you should weigh. However, BMI does not take into account muscle mass. A 100-metre Olympic champion weighing 200 pounds (about 91 kilograms), who is 6 feet (about 1mt 83cm) tall, who has the same BMI as a couch potato of the same height, is not overweight, while the couch potato is overweight.

 

    • Waist-hip ratio – this measurement is said to be more accurate at determining what your ideal weight should be, compared to BMI. However, waist-hip ratio does not properly measure an individual’s total body fat percentage (muscle-to-fat ratio), and is also limited.

 

  • Waist-to-height ratio – this new way of determining ideal body weight is probably the most accurate one available today. It was presented by Dr. Margaret Ashwell, ex-science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, and team at the 19th Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, on 12th May, 2012. It is also a very simple calculation; easy for lay people to work out.

Dr. Ashwell’s team found that:

“Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world.”

Put simply, to achieve and/or maintain your ideal body weight:“Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height.”If you are a 6ft (183cm) tall adult male, your waist should not exceed 36 inches (91 cm).
If you are a 5ft 4 inches (163 cm) tall adult female, your waist should not exceed 32 inches (81 cm)

How do I measure my waist? – according to the World Health Organization (WHO), you should place the tape-measure half-way between the lower rib and the iliac crest (the the pelvic bone at the hip).

You can learn more about this article and other at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245588.php

Healthy Weight

 

Healthy Weight

 

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How Much Should I Weigh For My Age & Height?

How Much Should I Weigh For My Age & Height?

 

To determine how much you should weigh (your ideal body weight) several factors should be considered, including age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and bone density.

Some people suggest that calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best way to decide whether your body weight is ideal. Others say that BMI is faulty as it does not account for muscle mass and that waist-hip ratio is better.

One person’s ideal body weight may be completely different from another’s. If you compare yourself to family and friends you risk either aiming too high if you are surrounded by obese or overweight people, or too low if everyone around you works as fashion models.

Even comparing yourself with people outside your immediate surroundings may not work.

The levels of overweight and obesity in one country, such as the USA or UK, are much higher than in The Netherlands. So a Dutch person may aim for a lower ideal weight than an American if all he did was to compare himself to other people.

A recent study may have turned national guidelines on people’s ideal weight on its head. Researchers found that overweight people have a lower all-cause mortality risk compared to those of normal weight.

Is Body Mass Index (BMI) a good measure?

Your BMI is your weight in relation to your height.

    • BMI metric units: Your weight (kilograms) divided by the square of your height (meters)
      e.g. Weight 80 kilograms. Height 1.8 meters.
      1.82 meters = 3.24
      80 divided by 3.24 = BMI 24.69.

 

  • Imperial units: Your weight (pounds) times 703, divided by the square of your height in inches.
    e.g. Weight 190 pounds. Height 6 ft (72 inches)
    722 = 5184
    190 x 703 divided by 5184 = BMI 25.76

Health authorities worldwide mostly agree that:

  • People with a BMI of less than 18.5 are underweight.
  • A BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is ideal.
  • Somebody with a BMI between 25 and 30 is classed as overweight.
  • A person with a BMI over 30 is obese.

In some countries health authorities say the lower limit for BMI is 20, anything below it is underweight.

Calculate Your BMI

To calculate your BMI you can use our metric BMI calculator below (requires Flash) or, alternatively, use our use our more comprehensive BMI Calculator.

 

What is the problem with BMI?

BMI is a very simple measurement which does not take into account the person’s waist, chest or hip measurements. An Olympic 100 meters sprint champion may have a BMI higher than a couch potato of the same height. The couch potato may have a big belly, not much muscle and a lot of body fat on his hips, upper thighs, in his blood and other parts of his body. While the athlete will have a smaller waist, much less body fat, and most likely enjoy better health. According to a purely BMI criteria, the couch potato is healthier.

BMI does not take into account bone density (bone mass). A person with severe osteoporosis (very low bone density) may have a lower BMI than somebody else of the same height who is healthy, but the person with osteoporosis will have a larger waist, more body fat and weak bones.

Many experts criticize BMI as not generally useful in evaluation of health. It is at best a rough ballpark basic standard that may indicate population variations, but should not be used for individuals in health care.

Put simply: experts say that BMI underestimates the amount of body fat in overweight/obese people and overestimates it in lean or muscular people.

More information on BMI, together with imperial and metric BMI calculators, is available here.

Nick Trefethen, a Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute, has created what he believes to be a better, more accurate and relevant formula than the BMI one for deciding whether people are carrying too much fat. Humans do not grow equally in all three dimensions, he explains – the existing BMI formula presumes we do.

You can read more about this article and other at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/how-much-should-i-weigh.php

Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight

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Why Trans Fat Is So Bad – and What Is It, Anyway?

Why Trans Fat Is So Bad – and What Is It, Anyway?

Written By:

Heidi Stevenson

Trans fat isn’t crooked—and that’s the problem. Though it’s chemically identical to natural fats, it doesn’t bend. Here’s a clear and simple explanation of why, what it means, and why trans fats are so dangerous.

Woman with Out of Order Sign on Head

We have been indoctrinated about fats for decades. Starting in the 1950′s, we were inundated with ads about how bad saturated fat is. We were, and still are, advised by our doctors to avoid butter and use margarine, or better yet, avoid fats altogether. Fairly recently, conflicting information has been coming out. Polyunsaturated fat is good…no, it’s bad. Monounsaturated fat is good. Fat that’s solid at room temperature is bad. No, coconut oil is good…and so forth.

So, what’s the truth? Fat is good for you!

At least 25% of your calorie intake should be comprised of it. As you know, veggies are good for you, and if fresh, their oils are healthy, too. With that undeniable fact, it’s been an easy sell to convince people and their doctors that we should avoid saturated fats and eat veggie oils—with “in moderation” tagged on to pay lip service to the (misbegotten) idea that we should keep fat out of our diets. The catch is that little word, fresh. It’s virtually impossible to get fresh vegetable oil to the supermarket shelf. It goes rancid in no time at all. Therefore, it’s processed by hydrogenation.

This technique keeps the vegetable oil from rapidly going rancid, making it profitable to store and sell. There is, of course, a price paid for this agribusiness profit—your health.

Isn’t it interesting that, just as the medical system started telling us that we need to avoid saturated fats and use vegetable fats is when heart disease started to skyrocket? To fatten agribusiness pockets, we were told to avoid the fats that are good for us, and eat processed junk fat.

The Differences in Unsaturated, Saturated, and Trans Fats

Saturated Fat Molecule

To understand this better, let’s first take a look at what saturated fat is. As shown in the image to the right, the term describes fat molecules in which all possible hydrogen bonds have been made. That means that every carbon atom in the molecule is paired with one or more hydrogen atoms, so it’s loaded to capacity—saturated—with hydrogen. (The full picture is complicated by whether the carbon has double or single bonds, but it’s not necessary to get into that detail to describe the distinctions that we’re concerned with here.)

Cis Fat Molecule

Unsaturated fat molecules have a characteristic, called cis. (Image above.) The term cis means that atoms are located on the same side of a molecule. Trans means that identical atoms are located on opposite sides of a molecule.

Because the hydrogen atoms of naturally unsaturated fats can be on the same side, they tend to repel each other. This results in a bend in the molecule, making the molecule more available for bonding with others.

Trans Fat Molecule

Trans fats are formed by forcing hydrogen through fat at high heats. (They are not formed by cooking alone.) This results in hydrogen being bonded on opposite sides of the molecule, as shown in the image to the left. Because they’re not adjacent to each other, the hydrogen atoms do not repel each other, so the molecule does not bend. The molecule is, therefore, more stable, not as readily able as cis fat molecules to bind with the atoms of other molecules.

What difference does a bend make?

It would seem that a little bend wouldn’t matter, since the saturated fat molecules and trans fat molecules are chemically identical. The first thing to understand is that cell walls consist of about 50% saturated fat. When we eat trans fats, they can replace the saturated fats in cell walls.

Cell walls can, and must, be permeable—but only to the right degree. Nutrients pass through the cell wall into the cell, while wastes and toxins pass through them in the opposite direction to be removed from the body.

Because trans fats are more stable chemically—the direct result of the hydrogen atoms being on opposite sides of the molecule—they do not interact properly with other molecules. The cell wall itself is not as tightly bound as it should be, making it weak and more permeable than normal. Thus, molecules of toxins that would have been too large to enter a cell may now be able to squeeze through the cell wall and wreak havoc inside.

Many substances move in and out of cells via messages exchanged through the cell wall. They function by chemical signals or exchanges, or by shape. Trans fats are less chemically active, so the proper signal exchanges cannot be made and normal cell communication cannot occur. Trans fats are also shaped differently, so molecules can be stuck either inside or outside the cells. When trans fats replace saturated ones, critical nutrients may not be able to enter cells and toxins may not be able to exit.

The result is a deranged metabolism, which affects every aspect of health.

Aside from composing half of cell walls, saturated fats play many other important roles in the body. They’re needed for energy, hormones, and signaling, such as communication to allow or refuse entry to a cell.

Hormonal signals, such as adrenalin in the fight-or-flight response, may not be properly received and acted upon. In a real emergency, one’s reflexes and ability to run can be jeopardized. In the modern world’s typical high-stress environment, the body’s inability to respond to adrenalin may result in the adrenal glands pushing even harder to produce more and more adrenalin. A common problem today is adrenal fatigue, which can lead to thyroid malfunction. It’s certainly not surprising that women are experiencing an epidemic of thyroid burnout.

Prevalence of Trans Fats

When you see the term trans fat, you should immediately think of hydrogenated fat. When you see the term hydrogenated in any context, you should think trans fat. The bottom line is that they all refer to the same process of hydrogenation, which not only destroys the quality of food, it makes it dangerous.

Partial hydrogenation is done to increase shelf life of oil. Vegetable oils are quite healthy when they’re fresh. That is, though, the rub. They go rancid quite rapidly, making it virtually impossible to get them to supermarket shelves and store them long enough for sale. Therefore, you must assume that they have been partially hydrogenated. They have gone through the same process, but not as extensively. As a result, the oil is stable, so it takes a very long time to become obviously rancid, but it’s now a poison.

Trans fats, whether fully or partially hydrogenated, are not simply foods from which nutrition has been leached. They’re poison. To suggest that partially hydrogenated oils are okay is like suggesting that it’s better to take one poison because it’s less poisonous than another. Both are poisons. When you consider how heavily vegetable oils have been pushed—virtually defined as the key to good health—it isn’t difficult to see why cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases have become so common.

You can read this article and others at : http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/why-trans-fat-so-bad-%E2%80%93-and-what-it-anyway

Healthy Weight

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